About the Match
After playing on a batting beauty and a rank-turner, teams now shift to a place known for its lush outfield and track suited for batting and bowling alike. England will fancy their chances on Mohali wicket which is known to be conducive for pace bowling on first two days. The match is scheduled to start on 26th November at 9:30 am local time. The last time India played on this surface was about a year ago where India thrashed South Africa by a whopping margin of 108 runs. With the weather much cooler than Rajkot and Vizag, it will perhaps be the best surface England will get on this tour and they’ll be eyeing a win to square the series.
Indians were always going to be favorites on a turning Vizag wicket and it wasn’t surprising that they prevailed over England. However, on Mohali deck, seamers too will have a key role to play. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is brought back into the side and is expected to be in playing eleven as well. Due to that, Jayant Yadav, who was impressive in the Vizag test might have to miss out looking at the conditions.
As far as batting is concerned, almost all Indian batsmen have got runs in the first two tests. Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara have got centuries whereas Ashwin has been instrumental in playing with the tail. Barring the first innings of the first Test, Kohli has scored massively every time he has come out to bat. Ajinkya Rahane’s scores in the first two tests will be a cause of concern for the hosts.
The batting and bowing improved to a great extent in the second test as the hosts always looked ahead of the tourists. Ravi Ashwin was once again the pick of the bowlers ably supported by Mohammad Shami and Ravindra Jadeja. Overall, the hosts improved greatly after their relatively modest performance in Rajkot and will look to build on it to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
England are known to be known to be slow starters when touring the subcontinent and the same reflected in the second test as well. After a brilliant first test at Rajkot, they were well and truly outplayed in all departments. Alastair Cook and Haseeb Hameed fought hard in the second innings, but they lacked intent to score runs. Bairstow and Stoke did get starts, but failed to capitalize on those starts.
Jamie Anderson and Stuart Broad bowled beautifully in the conditions which weren’t really suited to quick bowling. Broad picked up four wickets and while Anderson picked up just one wicket, he was pretty economical. However, Broad’s absence in the bowling department will certainly create a void. Adil Rashid has been the leading wicket taker with 13 wickets and he will have a key role to play in Mohali.
England will be worried about Ben Duckett’s form who hasn’t looked comfortable at all against spinners. He might be replaced by Jos Buttler who has the experience in IPL of playing in Indian conditions. Mohali might be the best place for England to get going in the series and if their batsmen get going, like they did in Rajkot, they certainly have the bowling firepower to trouble Indians.
India looked an altogether different unit in the second test. Bowlers looked sharper while the batsmen were prepared to grind it out. However, England didn’t look as good as they did in the first test. They’d be hoping for a better performance in more favorable conditions. Looking at the conditions, and teams on paper, India appear to be a more settled and a confident unit and they are favorites to prevail in the third test as well.